Environmental groups said they hoped Trump would be defeated in 2020 by a rival who would re-join the agreement with bold new targets.
WASHINGTON – The Trump administration has formally notified the United Nations that it will withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, the first formal step in a one-year process to exit the global pact to fight climate change, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed on Monday.
The United States, the world’s largest historic greenhouse gas emitter, would become the only country outside the accord, a decision President Donald Trump promised to boost U.S. oil, gas and coal industries.
The State Department letter to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres started the clock on a process that would be completed one day after the 2020 U.S. presidential election, on Nov. 4, 2020.
“The next president will need to rejoin the accord immediately and commit to the rapid, wholesale clean-energy transformation the climate emergency demands,” said Jean Su, energy director with the Center for Biological Diversity.
The Obama administration signed the United States onto the 2015 pact, promising a 26-28% cut in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 from 2005 levels.
“What we won’t do is punish the American people while enriching foreign polluters,” Trump said at a shale gas industry conference in Pennsylvania on Oct. 23.
“While it serves the political needs of the Trump administration, we will lose a lot of traction with respect to U.S. influence globally,” he said, adding it could take time for the international community “to trust the U.S. as a consistent partner.”
The United States and China, the world’s two largest carbon emitters, have recently been leading negotiations of the Paris “rule book” that outlines transparency and reporting rules for signatories.